ontario licence plates

Doug Ford government now blaming 3M for Ontario licence plate fiasco

The saga of #PlateGate continues with Ontario's PC government now finally admitting that their new, blue licence plates may not be up to snuff.

The Premier's Office issued a statement on Wednesday night in which the readability "issue" with the highly-reflective new plates is acknowledged. Sort of.

"Public safety is the top priority of our government. Premier Ford has personally spoken to the president of 3M Canada on two separate occasions seeking an immediate solution (to) the issue identified with their product," reads a statement issued by the Premier's Office to reporters late Wednesday.

"The government of Ontario expects 3M to stand by their product. We are working with them on a path forward and will have more to say shortly."

3M, a multinational conglomerate that produces over 60,000 consumer, health care, safety and industry products, is the same company that produced Ontario's last licence plates — the white ones that most cars still bear today.

Ontario's minister of government and consumer services, Lisa Thompson, slammed the standard white plates on Tuesday at Queen's Park, noting that they had to be replaced due to peeling and flaking.

"I am pleased to share with you that the plates that have been introduced to this province, they're working," she said at the time. "They've been tested under a whole host of visibility conditions and we have absolute confidence in our plates."

Thompson vehemently defended the new plates, also manufactured by 3M, in spite of mounting criticism until Wednesday afternoon, when she acknowledged that there may be a visibility problem.

Now that they've admitted something is wrong, the beleaguered Ford administration is putting the blame for said wrongness straight into the hands of 3M.

"They're responsible for quality control and manufacturing the plates," Thompson told MPPs at Queen's Park on Wednesday of the contracted vendor.

The manufacturer issued a statement of its own on Wednesday night.

"At 3M we are focused on applying our innovation and technology and are committed to working together with all stakeholders during design, testing and deployment," it reads.

"We stand behind our products and are actively providing solutions to the Ontario Government to address the readability issue as quickly as possible."

It may be the most attention-grabbing and serious, but the hard-to-read text is just the latest feature of Ontario's new, blue plates to earn widespread criticism.

When they were first announced, citizens took up issue with everything from the logo used in their design to their controversial new slogans: "A place to grow."

They also look like Q-tip boxes, though that isn't a threat to public safety .

Lead photo by

Premier of Ontario Photography


Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in City

Ontario taking over 5 long-term care homes in response to horrific military report

Toronto releases map of COVID-19 neighbourhood hot spots throughout the city

Ontario just added more services to the list of what can reopen

Calgary mayor throws shade at Toronto while talking about social distancing

Toronto is painting circles in Trinity Bellwoods Park to help people with physical distancing

Toronto artificial intelligence startup creates disease screening tool for retail stores

Two men arrested for shooting laser pointers at York Regional Police helicopter

Ontario confirms 292 new cases of COVID-19 as testing numbers finally increase